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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones / one sheet / IMAX / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith / one sheet / style D / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Star Wars / quad / Oscars version / UK

12.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Oscars version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977 (this version printed 1978)
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. Whilst it would be nice to have the non-Oscar version I’m certainly not complaining, especially since this one is rolled and in fantastic condition.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and poster historian Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but his classic designs have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / one sheet / style C / international

16.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style C
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

Note that the style C one sheet was originally printed for use in international territories, meaning it was printed in the US for use in other English-speaking countries. Note that it’s lacking the MPAA ratings box (PG). There were a handful of style Cs that were printed with a ratings box which were used for limited US screenings, but these are harder to find than this international version. Another thing to note is that this poster was bootlegged towards the end of the 1980s and there are thought to be thousands of copies out there. Unlike typical fake one sheets, the bootlegs are full size at around 27″ x 41″ but there are ways to differentiate them. The colours on the fake are not as vibrant and there are two hairs that were likely caught in the printing presses when the fakes were being run off (one on Leia’s gown and one on R2D2’s foot). This video goes into detail about what to look for and Cinemasterpieces.com has a detailed section on the poster here. Moviepostercollectors.guide also has a page on what to look out for.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

To see the other posters I have in the collection that were painted by Chantrell click here.

Star Wars / one sheet / style A / first printing / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A - first printing
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Jung | Murray Smith (art direction)
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/21-0
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Star Wars / B2 / artwork style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / B2 / 1982 re-release / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / B2 / montage style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Montage
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / quad / Special Edition re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Special Edition re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
30 1/8" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / quad / UK

25.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
First printing
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for a style C one sheet as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is the first printing of the poster for the initial 1977 release in cinemas and this can be distinguished from the later printing known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. The ongoing success and phenomenon of the film meant that many more copies of the second version were printed as it was shown around the UK. The Oscars version is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be viewed here.

During the time I spent with Shirley we browsed through several boxes of the plentiful material she has kept from the days that Tom was working on film posters. I was amazed to see that he had retained the original invoice that he had sent to 20th Century Fox (Star Wars’ UK distributors) and some letters from Fox relating to the invoice, which confirmed that he had been paid the sum of £1000 for his original work on the art. These can be viewed by accessing picture thumbnails 28 and 29.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / one sheet / 1981 re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
R810077
Tagline
The Force will be with you for two weeks only

Star Wars / one sheet / style D / studio version / USA

23.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style D - studio version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Charles White III | Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is the excellent ‘style D’ poster for the original sci-fi classic Star Wars, which was printed for the 1978 re-release of the film in the US. The artwork, which only appears on this US one sheet, was a collaboration between two talents; Charles White III who was at the time an established and well regarded artist well known for his skills with an airbrush, and Drew Struzan who was early in his film poster painting career and yet to paint the iconic images for which he is famous for today. This is Struzan’s first poster for the Star Wars franchise and he would later go on to be one of Lucasfilm’s most trusted artists, painting several other posters and related images for the Star Wars universe over the following 35 years.

In an interview with Airbrush Magazine in August 1999, Struzan said:

‘I will never fail to give credit to Charlie White for what he did for me. It may have been a small thing to him, but a life changer for me. He is an extraordinary artist famed for his airbrush work. He had the desirable assignment to do the one-sheet poster for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978. He is marvellous at painting objects, but was hesitant to paint portraits for the poster. Somehow, he asked me to paint the portraits while he would paint the droids and the like…Only an extraordinary individual does anything so generous and unselfish. It is the individual who deserves the honor. I have no doubt that there was a desire on Charlie’s part to do the best job possible on the Star Wars project…It was to his advantage to use the best talent he could find. He also gave the lettering to a great letterer. It made for an outstanding poster. All of us who worked on it have been proud ever since to have had the opportunity. It remains a perennial favorite, even among Hollywood executives.’

The style D page on TheForce.net notes that this is said to be George Lucas’ favourite Star Wars poster and the original artwork apparently hangs on the wall in his house. It is often described as being a ‘circus’ style poster as the main image has been illustrated to appear that it’s sitting on a wooden board with other older, torn paper surrounding it.

In another interview with Struzan carried out by Cinefantastique in 1997, the artist recalls how the design came about:

‘The novel idea of making the poster appear as if it were pasted on a wall came about almost by accident. “We had already done the lettering of the title, painting it in as part of the poster,” recalled Struzan. “Then, when we got the billing, we discovered there wasn’t enough room for all the credits, so we had to figure out a way to make more space. We thought, ‘Why don’t we take what we already have and paint it to look like it’s wild posted on top of other posters?’ That gave us the extra room we needed for the billing at the bottom. It was a case of Necessity being the Mother of Invention.” …”We had to do other art to fill it out, so we had a chance to include more characters. We added Han Solo in a little vignetted circle, and Alec Guinness was an afterthought. It kind of grew to include everybody.”‘

Note that this is the ‘studio’ version of the one sheet and there is also the National Screen Service (NSS) version which has all of the associated markings on the bottom edge of the poster. The studio style was printed by the studio itself, whilst the NSS version would have been produced at one of their own printing offices. There were also two official reprints done around the time of the film’s 15th anniversary but they are pretty easy to spot since they are undersized and feature several new lines of text (copyright and so on). Movieposterauthenticating.com features an excellent article on the poster and shows photographic detail of the differences. Moviepostercollectors.com also features a page on the poster that’s well worth a read.

Drew Struzan barely needs an introduction to film fans worldwide but he also has an official website featuring galleries of his work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Struzan click here.

Star Wars / B1 / artwork style / Japan

23.09.12

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
28 13/16" x 40 8/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The enigmatic artist Seito is responsible for the artwork on this Japanese B1 poster for the original release of the sci-fi classic Star Wars in Japan. The design has clear echoes of the American one sheet artwork by Tom Jung but features several additions and the unusual choice of having the Death Star upside down (the weapon crater at least). Both designs depict an overly muscled Luke Skywalker and a tight-clothed, voluptuous Princess Leia, which, if you’ve seen the film (who hasn’t!), you’ll know doesn’t quite match up with the actual characters.

This is one of three posters printed for the original release of Star Wars in Japan, which included a simple advance and this photo montage style.

Seito is one of my favourite Japanese artists and is responsible for some wonderful illustrated posters, although little is known about him even in his native Japan. To see the other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

The Star Wars Trilogy / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

The Star Wars Trilogy / one sheet / 1997 re-release / campaign A revised / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Star Wars / poster checklist / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars - poster checklist
AKA
--
Year of Film
N/A
Director
N/A
Starring
N/A
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
N/A,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Killian
Artist
N/A
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back / double bill / quad / UK

02.09.14

Poster Poster

Following the unprecedented success of the original Star Wars, released in 1977 to worldwide audience acclaim, expectations were high for the sequel which was put into production a few months after its release. Three years later, The Empire Strikes Back arrived in cinemas and was met with huge audience and critical acclaim, firmly cementing the series’ place in the hearts of millions of fans across the globe. A less well-received third part of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, and a lacklustre set of prequel films failed to dampen audience enthusiasm for the franchise and a new film adventure is set to be released at the end of 2015.

To capitalise on the successful release of the films, particularly before home video was a reality, distributor 20th Century Fox decided to release a double-bill of both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in to cinemas towards the end of 1980. This event was repeated across the world but this British quad is unique to this country and is the result of the amalgamation of the original quads for both films, plus an extra photographic element not included on either in the figure of Jedi master Yoda, which was probably added due to the characters’ popularity.

The original Star Wars quad was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. The artist sadly passed away in 2001 but last year his widow Shirley launched his official website, which showcases his work and features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own book British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and he was also responsible for many other pieces of iconic poster artwork. I have a number of other designs by Chantrell on this site and you can read an exclusive interview with Shirley by clicking here.

The Empire Strikes Back quad features the artwork painted for the US style B one sheetwhich was by the American artist Tom Jung, perhaps best known for his iconic ‘style A’ one sheet that he painted for the release of the original Star Wars. Jung was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the posters he worked on. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Another special quad was put together for a triple-bill event after the release of Return of the Jedi, which again featured elements of the artwork from all three separate release quads. Note that this poster can be found undersized at around 28″ x 40″ and this was because several hundred copies were machine trimmed to be used in special frames on the London Underground, a fate which befell a number of posters around the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.

 

Noriyoshi Ohrai exhibition / Star Wars posters

07.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Noriyoshi Ohrai exhibition - Star Wars posters
AKA
--
Year of Film
N/A
Director
Various
Starring
Various
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Various,
Type of Poster
Other
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2014
Designer
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
16 10/16" x 23 6/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

These three small Star Wars artwork posters were sold together at the exhibition held in February and March 2014 to celebrate the work of the brilliant Japanese illustrator Noriyoshi Ohrai. The artwork of the Millennium Falcon was used on a B2 poster that was printed for the 1982 re-release of the original Star Wars in its dubbed Japanese soundtrack form.

The green artwork was done by Ohrai for the international posters for the release of The Empire Strikes Back and was specially commissioned by George Lucas. It was used for the film’s release in several countries including Argentia, Australia and Japan. Of note is that the artwork that was on display at the exhibition and is reproduced here differs in several ways from the final printed poster. Amongst the differences are a different face for Luke Skywalker, Vader’s helmet being larger and more refined on the final poster and a stormtrooper that only features on this version.

The final poster is a montage of characters and vehicles from Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and I believe this was created for a magazine cover. It was certainly never used as the theatrical release poster of the film in Japan or any other country.

I wrote a report of my visit to the exhibition and that can be viewed here.

Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

29.04.13

Poster Poster

The Wrath of Khan was the follow up to 1979s Star Trek – The Motion Picture, which was the first feature film to hit cinemas following the ending of the original series 10 years previously. Even though the show was cancelled by the network (NBC) after only three seasons, it had garnered a significant cult following and had made a major impact on popular culture, helped greatly by broadcast syndication on channels across the US during the 1970s. Despite earning significant box-office takings, many critics and fans of the original series were disappointed with the first feature film and reviews tended to criticise it as overlong, bereft of any significant action and, worst of all, boring.

A sequel was inevitable, but Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original series and executive producer of the first film, was removed from its production by Paramount after they claimed that Roddenberry had forced the first film over budget and had muddled the script with too many re-writes. His replacement was Harve Bennett, with Roddenberry given an ‘executive consultant’ role. Bennett studied the original series for inspiration having decided that the film should be more action-packed and regain some of the swashbuckling feel that had been lost in the first film. Deciding that the sequel needed a decent bad guy, Bennett settled on the character of Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered super solider, who had featured in the first series episode Space Seed, which had long been a fan favourite. At the end of that episode Khan and some of his comrades had been banished to the inhospitable planet of Ceti Alpha V so his return in the film would not be against the series’ canon.

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban agreed to reprise his role as Khan and the story sees him escaping exile and seeking revenge against Captain Kirk, whom he blames for the death of his wife. After commandeering the USS Reliant, Khan learns of the Genesis Device, a torpedo which is intended to reorganise matter to create a hospitable world but can also destroy planets if used in the wrong way. The crew of the Starship Enterprise sets out to stop Khan but their intervention will not be without sacrifice and the ending of the film sees Leonard Nimoy’s Spock seemingly dead after sacrificing himself to save his comrades. This story arc would continue for two more films, concluding with The Voyage Home in 1986. Among several memorable scenes is the moment when Khan taunts Kirk with a threat against his wife, leading to this infamous outburst. KHAAAAAAAAAN!

When Mondo, the incomparable limited-edition screen print outfit, announced they were opening a gallery in their hometown of Austin, anticipation quickly reached fever pitch, with fans desperate to see what artwork would be on the walls when the doors opened for the first time. The answer was kept secret until the evening of March the 10th, 2012 when the opening night was held and the theme of their first show was revealed to be that of classic sci-fi. Most of Mondo’s premier artists turned in some incredible pieces for the show, as can be seen on this recap blog post on their website and on this SlashFilm post.

One of the highlights of the show was fan-favourite artist Tyler Stout’s print for The Wrath of Khan. A brilliantly composed image featuring Ricardo Montalban‘s unforgettable, titular bad guy, the poster was printed in two flavours; a red and gold regular and a silver and gold variant. Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the poster and that article can be read here.

Phantom of the Paradise / 30×40 / USA

15.04.14

Poster Poster
Title
Phantom of the Paradise
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Peter Elbling
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Peter Elbling,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
Style C
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Neal Adams (original sketch)
Artist
Richard Corben
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/339
Tagline
He's been maimed and framed, beaten, robbed and mutilated. But they still can't keep him from the woman he loves. | The most highly acclaimed horror phantasy of our time.

Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise is arguably one of cinema’s greatest cult oddities. Part musical, part horror and loosely based on Phantom of the Opera and the classic tale of Faust, the film has an electric atmosphere helped no end by the performance of the late William Finley as the unlucky music composer Winslow Leach who falls foul of the twisted producer Swan (Paul Williams, himself a noted musician and composer). A twisted satire of the state of the music business of the time, the film features a superb soundtrack written by Williams, which is a mix of surf pop, 70s glam rock and romantic ballads.

When Swan sees Winslow performing his music at a small concert he convinces the composer to sell his tunes to him to be used at the opening of his new club, The Paradise. Instead Swan has one of his henchmen steal the music, beat Winslow up and frame him for drug possession, sending the mild mannered musician to the brutal Sing Sing prison. Months later Winslow hears that one of Swan’s bands is to release a record based on his music and breaks out of the prison in a frenzied rage. After heading to Swan’s Death Records factory he tries to sabotage a record press but accidentally falls head-first into it, severely scarring his face and damaging his vocal chords. Escaping from the police, he makes his way to the Paradise where he dons a cape and a beaked mask and becomes the Phantom of The Paradise. Soon he discovers the secret behind Swan’s success and sets out to stop him at all costs.

The film was met with mixed critical reviews and was a worldwide box-office flop, with the only exceptions being in Japan and, bizarrely, Winnipeg in Canada where the film played at the same cinema for months. One of the key reasons for the film’s disastrous commercial performance was the way it had initially been marketed by studio Twentieth Century Fox who had created a campaign that emphasised the rock aspect of the film with the intention of drawing in teenage music fans. The plan backfired, however, when initial audiences realised how negative the portrayal of the music industry is in the film was and how it was effectively sending up the very thing they were fans of.

The brilliant fan site The Swan Archives, curated by Ari Kahan, features a thorough history of the promotion of the film and shows the initial two styles of poster, one of which was designed by Anthony Goldschmidt and illustrated by the late John Alvin and also featured on the album cover. As Kahan notes:

‘The involvement of A&M records (which issued the soundtrack, and which more or less owned the exclusive rights to Paul Williams’ life at the time) in the co-marketing campaign with 20th Century Fox meant that the film was initially pitched towards what A&M and Fox believed to be the teens-through-college “rock music demographic.” John Alvin’s beautiful painted graphics on the posters and soundtrack album emphasised guitars, keyboards, microphones, patch cords, and other musical ephemera, and a photorealistic depiction of songwriter/star Paul Williams, signalling the studio’s intention to rely heavily on Williams’ existing fame in its promotion of the film.’

The rest of the ill-conceived initial campaign is detailed on the Swan Archives page linked to above. After a disastrous few months at the box office, the film’s producer Ed Pressman convinced the studio to allow him to reposition the film with a revised marketing campaign. Kahan explains:

‘Pressman went into action by launching a second campaign, in mid-1975, which tagged the film as “The Most Highly Acclaimed Horror Phantasy of Our Time,” pushing the horror angle and perennial plot line, and downplaying the music. De Palma, Finley, and Graham were made extremely available to give interviews to Castle of Frankenstein, Monster World, and every other horror magazine that would make time for them’

As part of this second campaign Pressman commissioned noted comic book artist Richard Corben to illustrate a new poster image and fellow comic book artist Neal Adams provided an initial concept sketch from which Corben worked (according to Kahan, ‘Adams drew the sketch for free, to aid Pressman in pitching a never-realised Phantom of the Paradise companion comic book, which he hoped might result in some paying work’) . The new painting emphasised the horror aspect and the Phantom’s mangled face and completely downplayed Williams’ presence – you can just spot him at the bottom of the marquee (see the close-up image). The new campaign proved to be more successful but as Kahan notes:

‘The film gradually took on life, bringing in decent (though never great) box office and some positive reviews. As De Palma put it, “When we revised the campaign in the U.S and made it seem more like The Phantom of the Opera than a horror/rock film, we got an entirely different response.”‘

For more on the film’s promotional travails, I again urge you to check out the excellent Swan Archives site. Corben also painted the style B one sheet for the Heavy Metal film, the magazine of which he’d been involved with for several years.

Phantom Of The Opera / 1925 / screen print / 2009 / Martin Ansin / regular / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Phantom Of The Opera
AKA
--
Year of Film
1925
Director
Rupert Julian
Starring
Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2009
Designer
Martin Ansin
Artist
Martin Ansin
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Flesh Gordon Space Wars / B2 / Japan

08.06.12

Poster Poster
Title
Flesh Gordon Space Wars
AKA
Flesh Gordon (USA - original title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Michael Benveniste, Howard Ziehm
Starring
Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields, Joseph Hudgins, William Dennis Hunt, Candy Samples, Mycle Brandy, Steve Grumette
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields, Joseph Hudgins, William Dennis Hunt, Candy Samples, Mycle Brandy, Steve Grumette,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The sex-spoof Flesh Gordon was released within a few months of Star Wars in Japan and that probably accounts for the name change to a title so similar there can be no doubting the canny local distributors were hoping to cash in on some of the success of George Lucas’ sci-fi classic. Based on the original Buster Crabbe-starring Flash Gordon film serials of the 1930s, which were themselves based on a comic strip created by Alex Raymond, the film parodies many of the names and situations seen in the originals.

In this version Emperor Wang the Perverted, the leader of the planet Porno, points his mighty ‘Sex Ray’ towards Earth, turning everyone into sex-crazed lunatics. Only one man can save the planet; football player Flesh Gordon. Along with his girlfriend Dale Ardor and the (brilliantly named) mad Professor Flexi-Jerkoff, they set off towards the source of the Sex Ray determined to put a stop to Wang.

Entertaining and unremittingly trashy, the film does an excellent job of being just reverential enough to the original source material whilst adding it’s own brand of madcap humour interspersed with sex scenes. The effects are particularly decent for such a low-budget film and that’s because several of the effects specialists who worked on it were either established experts or men who would later go on to become leading artists in the field, including Mike MinorGreg Jein, and Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London).

For the large monster seen towards the end of the film the production utilised the talents of Jim Danforth and Dave Allen who are both now recognised as two of the leading figures in the world of stop-motion animation. The monster was given the name ‘Nesuahyrrah’, which is ‘Harryhausen’ spelled backwards, the surname of likely the greatest stop-motion animator of all time, Ray Harryhausen.

The poster artwork is by one of my favourite Japanese artists, Seito, and is unique to this B2. To see the other posters I’ve collected by the artist click here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Godzilla: Final Wars / B2 / Japan

08.05.14

Poster Poster

This is the B2 poster for the Japanese release of Godzilla: Final Wars, which was the 28th film in the long-running franchise featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the sixth release in the third generation of Godzilla films (known as the Millennium Series). Final Wars was something of a milestone for the film’s production company Toho Company Ltd as it marked 50 years since the release of the original film that started it all and also marked a break in the production of Godzilla films, with Toho declaring they wouldn’t film another Japanese entry in the franchise for at least 10 years and then dismantling the stage used for most entries.

Final Wars is set in 2044 and sees the Earth Defence Force dealing with an alien threat in the from of the Xiliens who secretly unleash Kaiju across the planet, including Rodan, Ebirah and Anguirus. After cities like Sydney, Shanghai and Paris are almost destroyed the aliens remove the Kaiju in an act of supposed benevolence and warn the earth about an impending impact from an asteroid called Gorath. The UN is disbanded and an alliance called the Space Nations is formed to tackle the new threat. A few members of the Earth Defence Force distrust the aliens’ intentions and discover that they were responsible for unleashing the Kaiju and that they really intend to harvest humanity for food. The group hatch a plan to unleash Godzilla from his frozen tomb in Antarctica where he’s lain for 40 years to help them tackle the threat.

The film is something of a greatest hits compilation, featuring as it does monsters and human characters from the franchise’s past, and the montage nature of this poster suits it well. Toho spent almost $20 million producing the film, which was the highest budget in the franchise to date, but unfortunately the medley of monsters and anniversary tag didn’t help it’s critical or commercial performance. It’s eventual box-office takings totalled just $12 million and made it the worst performing film in the series for 27 years.

The artwork on this poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai, my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. He also worked on other posters in the Godzilla franchise, some of which can be seen here. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition. I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by Noriyoshi Ohrai can be seen by clicking here.